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News | Wednesday, 03 March 2010 Issue. 153

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Who pays for Pope’s visit?

THe sum allocated by the Finance Ministry for the forthcoming visit of Pope Benedict XVI amounts to €200,000 – not even enough to pay for the overtime of police officers for the duration of the event.
On this occasion it is understood that the Pontiff’s personal security costs will be considerably higher than usual, on account of last December’s attack at the St Peter’s Basilica in Rome: when the 82-year-old Pope was pulled him to the ground by his vestments by a disturbed individual.
Late last year, a spokesman for the Finance Ministry told this newspaper that the Maltese government would be treating this event like any other State visit.
This support normally includes security measures such as closed circuit TV cameras, additional police presence on the streets, the assignment of temporary security personnel to the Pope’s entourage, increased intelligence surveillance and the temporary adoption of certain anti-terror measures, such as heightened airport security.
“Apart of the spiritual aspect of the visit, that is being taken care of by the local Church authorities, the Maltese government is taking care of all the logistical requirements,” an official for the Finance Ministry said late last year.
Judging by the amount of money allocated by the same ministry for this purpose, the government must be expecting a miracle of the loaves and fishes variety.


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